Clear International analysts are warning that, while trailer production has restarted, second-quarter demand is likely to be 44 per cent down. At the same time, the analysts report that European countries are likely to suffer gross domestic product (GDP) drops of up to 10 per cent in 2020. The conclusions are based on the facts that, since Clear International’s last report in February, all West European countries have had their forecasts for 2020 economic growth downgraded again. All forecasts now show negative GDP growth of between -6% and -10% in 2020 with every country in recession during this year.
Since the last report in May, Clear market research analysts are now reporting that several West European economies have had their forecasts for 2019/20 economic growth downgraded yet again. In the first six months trailer demand was up by 0.4 per cent but a fall of 14.9 per cent is forecast for the second half. As a result, the market will be down 6.6 per cent for the year.
West European trailer demand has not only faltered, but could fall by as much as 10 per cent, according to the latest analysis by Clear International. And, of course, if trailer demand is set to fall by as much as 10 per cent, this trend will no-doubt bring truck tyre OE sales down with it.
According to Clear International, demand for trailers grew by 3.6 per cent in Eastern Europe in 2018. The market has grown every year for the last six years, but that growth has been quite modest. Nevertheless, trailer sales in 2018 were the third highest on record, only surpassed in 2007 and 2008. The forecast for 2023 is that registrations of new trailers will be close to setting an all-time record.
Following the news that West European economies have had their forecasts for economic growth downgraded for 2019/20, analysts have concluded that suggestions of a slowdown in demand for trailers in the region during 2019 are likely to be correct.
Clear International has just issued its latest forecast for the West European Trailer Market, which suggests that trailer registrations between 2017 and 2021 will grow at a faster five-year period than any other on record.
Since the last report there has been a further improvement in the short term outlook for some West European economies. As a consequence, the forecast of a slowdown in demand for trailers in the region during 2018 has changed.
Poland, Russia and Turkey, the three largest trailer markets in Eastern Europe, all rallied in the second half of 2017 to push total trailer demand for the region back over 90,000 units for the first time in 10 years, according to Clear International data, which adds: “The strong demand will carry forward into 2018 so that the market will grow by another 4.0 per cent”.
Instead of demand dropping by approximately 9 per cent in 2018 a decline in demand of 5 per cent is now forecast, followed by a further drop in 2019 leading to a total shrinking of the market by 13 per cent over the two years. According to the agency “Clear”, for 2017 the demand for trailers increased in the first half of the year but will have close to zero growth in the second half. Overall 2017 will see a 3 per cent increase in registrations.
There has been a distinct improvement in the outlook for many, if not all, West European economies when it comes to trailer sales. As a consequence, the forecast of a sharp slowdown in demand for trailers in the region during 2018 has moderated, but it has not disappeared – according to forecast upgrade note written by Clear International.
Instead of demand dropping approximately 15 per cent in 2018 a decline in demand of 9 per cent is now forecast, followed by a further small drop in 2019 leading to a total shrinking of the market by 13 per cent over the two years.
The East European market grew by over 5.1 per cent in 2016 and further growth is forecast for 2017, according to Clear International. The figure for 2016 is considerably lower than was anticipated at the beginning of the year and the difference is almost entirely attributable to developments in Turkey. Political instability had already undermined business confidence in early 2016 and then in mid year there was an attempted military coup. This had a dire and worsening effect on business investment resulting in 19,000 trailers being wiped from the Turkish forecast.
The West European Trailer Market had the third highest level of new trailer registrations ever, surpassed only by the figures for 2007 and 2008 before the GFC.
However, there, there was a distinct weakening of the market in the second half of the year and Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Spain were all less buoyant markets at the end of the year than they were in mid-2016.
The latest figures suggest that in 2016 we had the third highest level of new trailer registrations ever, surpassed only by the figures for 2007 and 2008. However, there is also “a distinct weakening of the market in the second half of the year” according to CLEAR analysts who suggest the market is now forecasting a weaker fourth quarter than was predicted earlier in 2016. Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are all less buoyant markets than they were assumed to be six months ago.
The East European market will grow by over 6 per cent in 2016 and by almost 5 per cent in 2017, according to a Clear International analysis. But there have been considerable changes. The figure for 2016 is considerably lower than was anticipated at the beginning of the year and the difference is mostly attributable to developments in Turkey. Political instability had already undermined business confidence in early 2016 and then in mid-year there was an attempted military coup. This has had a dire and worsening effect on business investment resulting in 10,000 trailers being wiped from the forecast.
Chinese firm CIMC Vehicles has acquired Northern Irish firm Retlan Manufacturing Limited, which includes well-known trailer manufacturer SDC Trailers
Local news sources quote David Li, general manager and director of the board of CIMC Vehicles, as saying: “We are delighted to have acquired the Retlan Group. The acquisition will mark an exciting new chapter in its history. We look forward to working with the existing management to continue its fine tradition of high quality UK-based manufacturing and to the opportunity for further investment to help grow the business.”